OBJECTIVE OF HAND AND FOOT: The object of the game is to play the hand and foot while making the needed melds.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-6 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: Five 54-card decks (52 cards + 2 Jokers)
RANK OF CARDS: A,K,Q,J,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2
TYPE OF GAME: Canasta/Rummy
INTRODUCTION TO HAND AND FOOT
Hand and Foot card game is a game related to Canasta. In Hand and Foot, players are dealt two sets of cards: the hand, which is played with first, and the foot, which is then played after.
This game does not have standard rules and is also played with a variety of variations. The game generally has 4 players consisting of 2 partnerships. However, this game can be played with any number of people. This game is also closely related to Pennies From Heaven.
The instructions below are the best fit for a 4 player game with partners.
PLAYERS, CARDS, & THE DEAL
Hand and Foot is typically played as a partner game, partners sit across from each other at the table. Choose one pair to deal first. They must shuffle the cards then one person takes the deck. The dealer proceeds to deal each player a stack of 13 cards and pass them clockwise until each player has a hand. Then the other partner does the same and deals each player the foot. These two stacks of cards must remain separate.
The remaining cards are put then in the center of the table and form the stockpile. The top card is also flipped over face-up beside it and starts the discard pile. If the card happens to be a 3 or a Joker (wild card) it is then buried within the stock and a new card is flipped over.
‘Foot’ stacks are to be placed around the stock and the discard pile. Players then pick up their ‘hand.’ The play begins with the ‘hand’ dealer.
The deal passes left and the game consists of four deals total.
The objective of Hand and Foot is to get rid of all your cards by forming them into melds as in any traditional rummy game. A meld is formed with 3 to 7 cards of equal rank. A seven card meld is called a book or a pile. Books are squared up, unlike a fanned meld still in the process of being added to. The card on top of the book indicates the kind of meld (discussed below): red card for clean books, black card for dirty books, and a joker for wild books. While teams may have books of the same rank, a new meld cannot be started until the same ranked meld has been completed first. Typically, one partner has the completed melds, in addition to red threes, in front of them and the other has the incomplete melds.
The cards are placed face-up on the table in front of the player. In this variation of Rummy, melds also belong to partners, as opposed to the individual player. This means either player in a partnership may add to any of the melds they both create, unless the meld has reached seven cards.
Players score points for cards they have melded and also lose points for cards left in hand. The play ceases once one player has managed to play both their ‘hand’ and ‘foot’ in totality. That player has ‘gone out.’ There are three conditions player’s must satisfy before going out:
- The partnership must have completed 2 dirty books, 2 clean books, and 1 wild book.
- One player in the partnership has picked up their ‘foot’ and played at least a single turn from it. (The one who hasn’t played their total foot)
- You must receive permission from your partner to go out, meld the remainder of your cards but one, and discard the last card. If your partner denies you, you may not go out.
Red & Black Threes
Melds are formed with cards from A to 4. Threes, however, may not be melded in a normal way.
Red Threes count for a player if it is laid down on the table with their melds, however, it counts against them if it is not. Red threes should be immediately placed face up on the table and a new card must be drawn from the stock. They may be found in your hand, drawn from the stock, found in the foot, or picked from the discard. If your opponents ‘go out’ (get rid of all their cards) before you have grabbed your ‘foot,’ and there is a red three present, that three counts against you.
Black Threes can only be used to block the next player from picking out the discard after you discard it. Black threes left in your hand count for minus five points on your score. They cannot be played- only discarded.
Twos & Jokers
Twos and Jokers are wild cards. Wild cards may be used to substitute any card in a meld, granted there are twice as many natural cards in the meld as there are wild cards. A meld may be made entirely of wild cards, though. This type of meld is required before ‘going out’ and winning a particular deal.
Types of Melds
- Clean melds have no wild cards present.
- Dirty melds have at least a single wild card, and no more than one if the meld has less than 6 cards.
- Wild melds have only wild cards present.
HAND AND FOOT CARD VALUES
Below are the values of cards in the game. These values count for you (or your team) if they are melded and against you (or your team) if they are not at the end of the game.
Jokers: 50 points each
2s & Aces: 20 points each
8-King: 10 points each
4-7: 5 points each
Black 3s: 5 points each
Both teams can collect bonus points in addition to the card values. Red threes count 100 points toward your score if they are on the table and 100 points against your score if they are in hand.
Each Clean Book: 500 points
Each Dirty Book: 300 points
Wild Book: 1500 points
‘Going Out’: 100 points
Each Red 3: 100 points
Each deal poses a minimum requirement for the total point value of the cards which make up the first meld created in a partnership.
Deal 1: 50 points
Deal 2: 90 points
For Deal 3: 120 points
Deal 4: 150 points
Red 3s and complete book bonuses do not count.
GAMEPLAY FOR HAND AND FOOT
Play begins with the player to the left of the ‘hand’ dealer and passes clockwise. Play continues until someone ‘goes out.’ Before your turn, red threes must be placed face-up on the table. The number of red threes placed on the table must be replaced by and an equal amount of cards drawn from the stock.
A typical turn consists of:
- Drawing two cards form the top of the stock pile.
- Melding cards- start a meld or add to a meld (yours or your partners)
- Discard a single card to the top of the discard pile, face-up.
Red threes drawn from the stock must be directly placed face-up on the table and a new card must then be drawn from the stock pile.
You may not start a new meld and meld cards on your turn you must choose which action you wish to do
If you do not wish to draw two cards from the stock you may draw seven cards from the discard. The whole pile may be collected if it contains less than seven cards. If you wish to draw from the discard these are the following requirements:
- The top card of the discard cannot be a (black) three
- You must hold 2 cards of equal rank as the top card of the discard
- (At least) three cards must be immediately melded: 2 of equal rank already in hand and the top of the discard
Complete turn by discarding a single card to the discard pile.
The first meld set down on the table must meet the minimum meld value requirement (this is the total sum of the value of the cards played). Multiple melds may be started to reach this point requirement. If you are picking up from the discard pile, the three mandatory cards to meld may count toward this stipulation, however, the other 6 cards drawn do not count. Cards in the initial meld may be wild cards.
Partners are not permitted to have two incomplete melds of equal rank. A book must be completed before a new meld of equal value is started.
After you get rid of all the cards your ‘hand’ you may pick up your ‘foot,’ and continuing playing as usual. The foot may be picked up in one of two ways: all cards in the ‘hand’ are melded, the foot is pick up, and a single card from it is discarded OR all but one card of the ‘hand’ is melded, the last card is discarded, and the foot is picked up.
In this version of Hand and Foot there is no penalty for discarding a wild card in order to get to the foot.
The play ceases when either:
- A player successfully goes out, under the stipulations discussed above OR
- the stock pile is depleted and players do not wish to draw from the discard.
If your partner does not permit you to go out, after melding you must have two cards left: one to discard and one to continue playing with.
At the end of the game, players score their books and melds, including bonuses that apply. The team with the greatest number of points after four deals wins.
INSTRUCTION VIDEO OF HOW TO PLAY HAND AND FOOT CARD GAME
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When can I pick up my foot?
You may only pick up your foot once you empty all the cards in your hand.
What all does a player need to go out?
To go out a player needs 2 dirty books (also known as a dirty meld of 7 cards), 2 clean books (also known as a clean meld of 7 cards), and 1 wild book (also known as a wild meld of 7 cards). These all must contain 7 cards and be squared books. You will also need to empty your foot and your partner’s permission to go out.
How do you win Hand and Foot?
Four rounds are played and the team with the highest score after all four rounds is the winner.
How many decks of cards are needed to play hand and foot?
You need five 52-card decks with 2 jokers per deck.